The 4-H senior team includes Hunter Mihaich, from left, Logan Bankard, coach Dan Bankard, Grant Birkinbine, Will Valora and JP Ely.

Betsy Birkinbine/courtesy

The 4-H senior team includes Hunter Mihaich, from left, Logan Bankard, coach Dan Bankard, Grant Birkinbine, Will Valora and JP Ely.

Routt County 4-H shotgun squad on point at State Fair

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— In just its second time fielding a full senior team in many years, the Routt County 4-H shotgun team took third in the senior team skeet discipline at the state championships Sept. 1.

Shotgun leader Dan Bankard said his unit of about 10 competitors faced bigger teams from across the state that fielded upward of 40 kids.

“We didn’t know what to expect until we started scoring other teams as coaches,” Bankard said. “Once I started scoring others, I thought, ‘Hey, we might be in this.’ It was a welcome surprise. You go there as an individual, but when you bring it together as a team, that’s kind of the basis of 4-H, doing things together.”

In order to compete at state, teams participate in a completion day, a regional competition that was held the third week in July for Routt County. The top five from that competition advance to the Colorado State Fair.

Senior and junior teams compete, and this year, Bankard had his full five seniors at state. Disciplines the competitors square off in are trap shooting, skeet and sporting clays.

Bankard’s son, Logan, took eighth in sporting clays Aug. 31, then followed up with a ninth-place finish in skeet the next day. Logan finished with a combined score of 133, reaching his top-10 individual goal.

Steamboat Springs High School junior Hunter Mihaich will be one of Bankard’s returning competitors at the 2014 State Fair. Beyond the competition, Mihaich said the event was simply a good time, but things could be improved upon.

“I had a blast, I can’t say I could have more fun,” Mihaich said. “We just need to show up to more practices. The more practices we get in, the better off we are.”

Bankard said placing third overall in skeet is “pretty good for us,” but returns nearly his entire senior squad next year and expects some junior members to step up.

“With what I’ve got, I seriously expect we could be right in the top three places again,” Bankard said about competing in the 2014 State Fair. “Now that they’ve got the taste of it, I think they’ll drive even harder. I have nothing but good expectations for what’s going on next year. Next year, I’ll probably have that group for at least two years.”

Those interested in joining the team for next year can check with the 4-H CSU Routt County Extension. Sign-ups are near the first of the year and practices begin in mid-April.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204 or email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com

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